Hugo and Nebula Award winner.
A legendary SF book, though
it's meat and potatoes seems to be a complicated weaving of several
conspiracies, secret agendas and feudal intrigue.
By no means is that all of
it. We have a serious look at the workings of a planet very different than
Earth. Arrakis is practically all desert. All-in-all it has very few things
to offer human life in general or an elite seeking more wealth in particular.
Actually, it only has one thing to offer: Melange, which is referred to as a
spice. Arrakis is the only place in the galaxy where Melange is available. It
is extremely valuable because its use allows space navigators to cross
hyperspace. It also extends a person's life, etc.
This makes Arrakis strategic
and lucrative. The interstellar empire changes feudal control over the planet
from one noble family (bad guys) to another (good guys). May the plotting and
The various plotters include:
the bad noble family (Harkonens), a pseudo-religious organization of women with
a secret human breeding program approaching its climax (Bene Gesserit), a Bene
Gesserit (concubine to the good duke) who hasn't obeyed her instructions on
breeding, the Guild that runs interstellar travel, Melange smugglers, tribes of
fierce desert-dwelling people (Freemen), an imperial representative with a
double life, and the heir to the good noble family whose plans eventually
extend beyond the planet.
In the universe in which Dune
takes place humans have eliminated inanimate computers and use altered humans
(Mentats). There are people who are restored to golem life after dying in
Arrakis' native ecology is
dominated by giant "sandworms" - creatures big enough for many people
to ride on top when the worm is not below ground...
We get a close look at how
the Freemen manage to live under the harsh conditions of Arrakis, their culture
and their relationship to the sandworms.